Newspapers around the country can breathe a sigh of relief — the tariffs on Canadian newsprint have been overturned by the International Trade Commission (ITC). The tariffs arose in January after the Norpac (North Pacific) paper mill in Longview, Washington, submitted a single complaint to the federal Commerce Department.
The tariffs caused the cost of newsprint to skyrocket and led to layoffs in newsrooms across the country. The tariffs hit Eugene Weekly as well. The cost to produce a 28-page paper in July was the same as the cost to produce a 32 page paper had been in March.
“The tariffs have disrupted the newsprint market, increasing newsprint costs by nearly 30 percent and forcing many newspapers to reduce their print distribution and cut staff,” David Chavern the president and CEO of News Media Alliance stated in a press release. “We hope today’s reversal of these newsprint tariffs will restore stability to the market and that publishers will see a full and quick recovery. Our democracy depends on it.”
Following Norpac’s complaint in January, tariffs as high as 32 percent were imposed on Canadian newsprint, but were lowered to just under 17 percent in early August. Norpac spokesman David Ritchie told Eugene Weekly in August that Norpac was seeking a “level playing field” with Canadian producers.
According to a press release from the National Newspaper Association, Norpac is allowed to appeal the ITC’s decision and the case is not final until Sept. 17. Norpac CEO Craig Anneberg writes in a press release the company will determine its next moves after the report is released in mid-September.
“We are very disappointed in the USITC’s negative determination, given that the record clearly shows that the domestic industry has been materially injured by dumped and subsidized imports from Canada,” Anneberg stated. “We intend to review the USITC’s written determination when it is issued in a few weeks, and we will assess our options at that time.”
The newspaper industry didn’t sit idly by while the tariffs went into effect. Printers, publishers and paper distributors formed the Stop Tariffs on Print and Publishers (STOPP) Coalition to lobby Congress and the ITC and inform about the effects of the tariffs.
Although the announcement to end the tariffs came on Wednesday, the reasons for the commission’s decision not be made public until mid-September when the commission’s report is released, according to a press release from the National Newspaper Association.